Oils Around My House

LemonEssentialOil-850x567I’ve used oils for

  • Laundry
  • Pest control
  • Air purification
  • Mold control
  • Freshening HVAC ductwork
  • Cleaning produce and
  • Removing sticker residue

Here’s how!


Lemongrass for wool dryer balls
Instead of using fabric softeners or dryer sheets (which I am actually allergic to, plus they are filled with chemicals I’d rather not have coating my family’s clothes and seeping through our pores), I add 1-2 drops of Plant Therapy’s (dirt cheap-30ml for $9 cheap) lemongrass on at least two of my wool dryer balls toward the end of the drying cycle or before fluffing up line-dried laundry. If the clothes are completely dry, I add the oil and set the dryer to the “low heat” or “fluff air” setting for 5-8 minutes. I do NOT add oils when drying cloth diapers.

Purifying oils for (oops!) musty, wet clothes
Those times I forget about a load in the wash for a couple days? I do a quick wash with a tbs of my homemade detergent and 2-3 drops of lemon (any brand) or a purifying blend (any brand, such as YL’s Purification or HEO’s Purify). Works every time.


Bugs do not like cinnamon bark and peppermint. We only get our house sprayed once in a blue moon (3x in the first 3.5 years years we’ve lived here), and our signal that it’s time for a treatment is after consistent live roach sightings (proceeded by killings) for several days in a row.

For general control of bugs of all kinds (esp. during rainy months), I add a drop of cinnamon bark (any brand) and a drop of peppermint (any brand) to cotton balls and place them in places my kids can’t reach but bugs like to frequent. These are hot oils (esp. cinnamon bark!), so don’t touch them with your fingers!

  • behind beds
  • under dressers (against the wall)
  • under sinks, toward the back
  • behind the fridge
  • back of the pantry
  • on the wall behind the microwave (but not close to the outlet)
  • inside air vents
  • high window sills, or between the window screen and glass

Those tiny sugar ants that invade the kitchen will not cross a line of either peppermint or cinnamon bark oil. I have a borax/sugar water mix I use to totally eliminate ants (will do a separate post sometime), but during the waiting process I use peppermint to control their paths on my counters. Sometimes they will even abandon their “mission” and the “ants go marching one by one” OUT and away!


Thieves and Purification during illness, lemon for everyday use
When anybody in the home gets the sniffles (or any remote sign of illness), I diffuse YL’s Thieves (or HEO’s Plague Defense) and Purification (or HEO’s Purify)–separately, not together–a couple times a day in each room. Both blends are highly antimicrobial, and Thieves has been shown to kill 90% or more of certain airborne bacteria and mold spores. Both blends have also worked wonders for us in funky-smelling hotel rooms.

For every day air freshening, I love to diffuse lemon (any brand). It’s inexpensive and I love the smell.


My recipe: 10 drops each of PT’s Germ Fighter and cinnamon bark per 1 oz of water mixed in an amber spray bottle. Shake well before use.
As I learned about the power behind certain oils when it comes to eliminating mold (even black mold), I used this recipe to spray down some troublesome spots on our bathroom baseboards and under the kitchen sink. Hot oil alert!, so I only sprayed right before bed so the kids couldn’t accidentally come in contact. The mold smell went away after 3 nights and stopped spreading…but oils will not miraculously remove any stains left behind from the damage. I had made more than I needed, so I emptied the remaining mix into a glass jar and left it open under the kitchen sink toward the back. No more mold growth, and I’ve also noticed no bugs under there either!


This was one of those “why not?” ideas I read about! Put a couple drops of cinnamon bark, thieves, lemon or pine onto some cotton balls and place them in the air return vent while the system runs.


Recipe: 1 drop lemon (high quality–YL, HEO, or NAN–since small possibility of ingesting), 1/4 cup white vinegar in a large bowl.
Fill the bowl with water, add produce, and allow to soak up to 15 minutes. I take thin-skinned or delicate produce out after 3-5 minutes (berries, lettuce). Drain, then rinse. Lemon is highly antiseptic and is awesome at loosening residue (including pesticide residues), making your “rinses” more effective.

I’ve found this is not very effective at removing wax coatings off of certain produce, like apples. I love my Norwex Fruit and Veggie Scrub Cloth for that! (Full disclosure: yes, I’m a Norwex consultant! Want to know more? Use the form at the bottom of this post to contact me!)


I used straight lemon EO to loosen and remove sticker residue off of glass bottles and such. Totally random, but thought I’d throw this out there.






Oil Blend Faves

I narrowed this faves list to 5, with explanations for why I chose them. These are the blends I reach for the most and always want available in my home. I’ll be brand specific for a reason!

Brand Acronyms
YL: Young Living
HEO: Heritage Essential Oils
PT: Plant Therapy
NAN: Native American Nutritionals

  • Peaceful (HEO)
    Contains the same oils as YL’s Peace and Calming, with the addition of mandarin red (citrus deliciosa) and frankincense (boswelia frereana). I tried YL’s Peace and Calming first from my starter kit and thought the smell was fine. It performed as advertised. Then I bought a sampler of the HEO Peaceful blend to compare and oh. my. word. The fragrance is divine, so relaxing, and I get the best sleep when I use it. It really helps me shut my brain off! I apply (diluted) on my wrists and sometimes behind my ears or under my nose. After a stressful day I love to add 1-2 drops to 2 cups of epsom salt and soak in the tub. HEO also makes a Peaceful Spray. As of this writing (6.1.15), YL is out of stock of Peace and Calming and HEO is rationing the blue tansy (one of the key oils for Peaceful) they have left. I purchased my sampler before the rationing began. Reading this notice from the HEO website gave me more confidence in my choice to trust HEO’s quality:
    HEO Blue Tansy Notice
  • Thieves (YL), Plague Defense (HEO), Germ Fighter (PT)
    YL trademarked the original blend name “Thieves” (inspired by the legend of the oils), but every oil company makes this popular blend (for good reason!). Just take a look at Annie Pryor’s (PhD, biochemistry) unbiased experiment to test how this blend (from several companies) KILLS GERMS. When diffused, it even kills airborne bacteria and toxic mold spores.

    A hot oil blend that smells like Christmas, Thieves contains Clove Bud, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary. The ratios of oils determines the fragrance–and most EO companies keep blend ratios at least partially proprietary. I listed all the brands because I use them for different situations: PT (dirt cheap) for regular diffusing in my daughter’s room, YL and HEO for diffusing and topical application when we are actually battling illness or when it’s CHRISTMAS!
    One time my throat was hurting so bad and I was so desperate for relief I was willing to try anything. I put 1 drop of YL Thieves on the roof of my mouth. It burned like crazy for a couple minutes, then within 30 minutes I could swallow and talk without pain! I’m not huge on internal use, though, so most of the time I apply (diluted) on my throat or on the bottoms of feet (feet only, and very diluted, for children). YL & HEO blends smell so similar I can hardly tell the difference–PT is distinctly different (not as Christmasy, in my opinion).
    (BTW, this oil smells like Christmas.)
    As usual, HEO has wonderful information for using this blend correctly and carefully, as well as dozens of testimonials. Read up on safe use for children and pregnant/nursing moms. I do plan to try NAN’s blend one day…but I still have plenty of YL & HEO to use until then.
    NAN equivalent: Immune Strength
    dT equivalent: On Guard
  • The Allergy Trio
    A popular homemade blend of lavender (angustifolia), lemon, and peppermint used for allergy relief. I put 10 drops of each (3 drops each for the kids) in a 10ml roll-on applicator and fill the rest with carrier oil. Mark used this several times daily behind his ears and on his forehead (sometimes under his nose) to help control allergies and congestion early this past spring (2015) and it worked amazingly well. No more sneeze attacks and 10-minute nose-blowing sessions first thing in the morning (he gets up at 5am to get ready for work), he didn’t need his inhaler as often, and rarely needed Claritin. Now that Mark and I have addressed some underlying gut-health problems, he doesn’t even need the oils as much anymore! (remember, I’m big on addressing root causes of illness and ailments!) Since there’s peppermint in it, I only use on the kids’ feet (when needed, which isn’t often). Some moms aren’t comfortable using peppermint, even extremely diluted, on infants or very young children and leave it out of the blend…I guess that would be an “Allergy Duo?”
    The fragrance is refreshing and purifying. I love diffusing 1 drop of each oil together.
  • Purification (YL), Purify (HEO)
    A highly antiseptic blend that does what the name says: purifies. Contains Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavandin, Rosemary, Tea Tree, and Myrtle. When illness hits the house, I alternate using Thieves and Purification topically and diffusing. The best words to describe the fragrance: crisp and clean. We recently diffused this blend in a hotel room to get rid of a musty (mixed with a hint of urine) smell, and it worked like a charm during the 15 minutes it took us to haul in all our junk from the family minivan. Won’t be traveling again without our diffuser and Purification oil!
  • Sensual (PT)
    Smells great. I use on my wrists, on the inner side of at least one of my thighs, and sometimes on my neck. Helps me. A lot. ‘Nuff said. 

Do Essential Oils Like Thieves Really Kill Germs? Annie Pryor, Ph. D. biochemistry

Single Oil Faves

Spa scene with natural cosmeticsI narrowed this fave list to 5, with reasons for why I chose them. These are the oils I reach for the most and always want available in my home. I won’t get brand specific here. These oils will come up the most in future Using Essential Oil posts.

  1. Peppermint (mentha piperita): Let’s see…what is peppermint good for? Headaches, pain, congestion, allergies, constipation, nausea, inflammation, sore or tight muscles, circulation…I could go on. Plus I love the smell. Mark takes a roll-on applicator (1/4 oil, 3/4 carrier) every day to work and applies on his shoulders, neck, temples, and anywhere else that’s sore during his break. He works a physically demanding job and loves how it makes him feel. Peppermint is a hot oil, and should be used with caution, especially around young children and pregnant or breastfeeding moms (so, research before using, and only do what you’re comfortable with). Another plus, high quality peppermint is inexpensive since the plant is indigenous to the States.
  2. Lavender (lavendula angustifolia): One of the safest and most useful oils on the planet. I’ve used it neat (no carrier) to soothe burns and insect bites, promote fast healing, and diminish scars. It’s highly antiseptic, anti fungal, and anti microbial. Great for congestion and allergies. Relaxing and soothing in a bath–it helps my daughter get ready for bed. Calming, soothing on the skin. I’m comfortable diffusing it in near my infants, and mixing in drops with (regular) coconut oil for diaper rashes and baby massage.
  3. Frankincense Frereana (boswelia frereana): Also known as Sacred Frankincense, this pricey, but fantastic “King of Oils” has so many benefits I couldn’t list them here. I’ll start with that it’s fantastic for anything and everything skin related: wrinkles, spots, moles, warts, scars, skin tone. High in sesquiterpenes, “Frank” is stimulating and elevating to the mind and helps in overcoming stress and despair, as well as supporting the immune system. It’s being studied as a “therapeutic agent for treating inflammatory symptoms associated with arthritis” (PubMed) since it has been “demonstrated that B. frereana prevents collagen degradation, and inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory mediators and MMPs.” For more information about this oil, see Heritage Essential Oils’ page on frankincense frereana.
  4. Lemon (citrus limonum): Great for allergies, congestion, general illness. Antiseptic, cleansing. Refreshing, purifying, and energizing when diffused. One of the only oils I ever (but rarely) use internally (brand picky, more info another time). A hundred random uses you can look up on Pinterest and Google.
  5. Lemongrass (cymbopogon flexuosus): I had a hard time picking the #5 slot, but settled on lemongrass since I use it a lot, particularly on my wool dryer balls toward the end of laundry drying cycles. Because of the abundant supply of the plant, it’s one of the cheapest oils on the market, regardless of brand. Great for circulation and skin care, and has been “successfully used for bladder infections, respiratory and sinus infections, digestive issues, parasites, torn or damaged ligaments and muscles, fluid retention, varicose veins and salmonella” (though not by me). Once again, Heritage has great information about lemongrass.

Honorable mentions: Tea tree, eucalyptus radiata, basil, and oregano.

Carrier Oils and Basic Accessories


  • First of All….(a short rant about EO education)
  • Carrier Oils
    • Fractionated Coconut Oil – my fave
    • Why I Rarely Never Use Olive Oil
  • Basic Oiling Accessories


All posts about using essential oils will be from my personal experience. Please don’t take my word as gospel–research and educate yourself on oil safety (for a good place to start, see EO Resources and Education). What I find helpful you may not be comfortable with, and vice versa. I have friends who regularly take EOs internally with no problems and no worries–I am not comfortable with that, though I’ve done it occasionally for an acute need. As with all things in life, nothing is completely risk-free–but that’s never an excuse to fly into something blind!


95% of the time I use EOs topically, I dilute with a carrier oil.

Fractionated Coconut Oil: my favorite carrier!e8d9ef013ef322c74cad1e1d3248be69.image.264x550
It has no color, no odor, does not require refrigeration, remains in liquid form, and has a shelf life of at least one year if stored properly (out of sunlight and direct heat). It’s also cheap…a 4oz bottle from Plant Therapy is $7.99 and SHIPS FREE. I went ahead and bought the 16 oz bottle ($24) since I planned to make a lot of roller ball applicators (and have!). There are plenty of other great carriers available at Plant Therapy with different price-points. This is the one I started with and still haven’t run out.

Why I Rarely Never Use Olive Oil anymore…especially in my roll-on applicators or in DIY projects (like salt scrubs, lotions). Olive oil oxidizes a little bit every time it’s exposed to air, heat, and light. “Extra-virgin olive oil contains chlorophyll that accelerates decomposition and makes the oil go rancid rather quickly.” (1) Before I got my coconut oil, I filled a couple roller applicators with EOs and olive oil…I didn’t use it up fast enough, so within a few months those applicators have a funky smell and the oil comes out a bit sticky. All the applicators I made with the coconut oil are still the same as day 1.

(Random FYI: this is also why I now buy olive oil in the small glass bottles and no longer use it for high-heat cooking [I prefer butter, coconut oil, and ghee]. I tested one of my massive bottles of olive oil that I used for several months and guess what? Yeah, it was rancid and I didn’t even know it. Apparently Americans are used to the taste of bad olive oil, me included!) (2)


I buy all my oiling accessories from Plant TherapyHeritage Essential Oils, my Young Living distributor, and Amazon. Keep in mind that Plant Therapy offers free shipping on all orders. Heritage EOs has a $6 flat shipping rate, so I’ve only purchased accessories from them when I’m also buying oils. I’m only covering the bare basics here: diffusers, roll-on applicators, and pipettes.


Diffusing is one of the safest ways to use oils, and an inexpensive way to freshen a room with a holiday or seasonally appropriate scent…without theYoung-Living-Aroma-Diffuser-250x250 chemicals found in [most] scented candles. There are dozens of brands out there, and most will only cover the square-footage of a single room, sometimes two. Diffusers create faint white-noise–and occasionally you’ll hear tiny “splashes” of water droplets. I find this background noise relaxing, but easy to tune out when I want to. Read the fine print and several reviews (good and bad) before purchasing a diffuser.

If you’re on a tight budget and will not get a diffuser with a starter kit, this $30 Kinps little guy from Amazon has worked great for us as a single-room diffuser (we have two!). We recently used it in a hotel room with an air purifying blend to get rid of the musty (mixed with a hint of urine) smell, and it worked like a charm during the 15 minutes it took us to haul in all our junk from the family minivan. Features/details to know:

  • An OFF setting for the lights—YAY!
  • Mist comes out at an angle, so easy to “point” in a certain direction
  • Light colors do not rotate, but each color has a bright and dim option
  • 4 timer settings: 30, 60, 120, & 180 minutes–will automatically shut off if the water runs out51ToBv4Eu2L._SL1024_
  • Can be tricky to pull off the top and put back on. Best to make sure both hands are free, use one to hold the base, and slightly twist/pull up on the top with the other hand. When putting the top back, gently push/twist into place to line up the 2 dots on the base and top.
  • Directions say to not use single citrus oils as they will degrade the plastic. I’ve used citrus in it short-term a few times, but immediately emptied the water and wiped out the base after use. No problems.

My daughter has this $40 ZAQ diffuser in her room. Super easy to use 31PHAXlmTiL(can do everything with one hand and a baby on my hip), but the OFF setting for the light is actually really blue and annoying (to me), so functions as a faint light and is brighter than a lot of night lights. Colors rotate, which is nice for ambiance…but we end up covering the cone with a shirt when we turn it on at night for our daughter. No timer options…it just automatically shuts off when the water runs out. 4 hour run time. Have also used citrus oils carefully with no problems. I’ll freely (but not shamefully) admit that I haven’t officially cleaned the reservoir or opening of this diffuser in 1 2 3 months….and we run it 1-2x a day in my daughter’s room. 7 months and no problems.

Additional Notes
Some diffuser directions say to only use distilled water. I honestly can’t remember what the directions were for my Kinps and ZAQ diffusers, but I’ve been using our tap water for months. I think using distilled is mainly important for those with hard tap water, but I’m not completely sure. You can always call the manufacturer and ask.

  • Use straight EO drops in your diffusers, no carriers or blends diluted with carriers–a lot of “kid safe” product lines have carriers in them.
  • Don’t run your diffuser close to an air return, unless you’re really wanting to freshen up the ductwork of your HVAC system. No really, if that sounds like a cool idea, put drops of EOs on cotton balls and stick them in your return vent. Cinnamon Bark kills mold or can at least slow down it’s growth, and ants don’t like it either!
  • If you get a tall, pretty diffuser, depending on your kids ages, you’ll need places that are out of reach and close to an outlet to run them. As much as I love my Young Living bamboo diffuser (first pictured) since it covers a LOT more sq. footage than my others, it’s pretty easy to knock over. I’ve given up on using it on end tables in our living spaces until all the kids are older (like way older).

21ktnBE3MKL._SY300_Roll-on Applicators
3 parts to these–the glass tube (can be clear or colored), roller fitment, and cap. Applicators that hold more than 10 mls are bulky and unnecessary. The roller can be plastic or metal. Metal rollers last longer and let out more oil…my husband likes this for his peppermint roller that he takes to work to use on tight muscles and on his forehead for headaches, congestion, and allergies. I like the slower-flowing plastic ones for the oils I use on my kiddos. Get labels (I used dollar store labels) and label as you make…include dilution ratios or some indication of who it’s safe for (examples: Baby Safe Thieves, Kid Safe Allergy Blend). I like to use a 6″ pipette to transfer carrier oil into the glass tube…less mess than squirting or pouring! (save pipettes for repeat use…don’t throw them away)

Where to purchase:

I hope this information serves you well! Happy oiling!

  1. New Warning About Olive Oil (and the best oils to cook with)
  2. Good Oils Gone Bad: Recognizing Rancidity and other Defects

EO Resources and Education

As I find more resources, I’ll add to this post accordingly.

  • Using Essential Oils: my favorite online resources
  • Recommended online classes
  • MLM Starter Kits: a big bang for your buck
  • Oil Kits (NOT mlm)


Heritage Essential Oils has excellent information regarding the safe use of oils for a variety of health issues and ages. I highly recommend reading through the entire Oil Usage page first (which includes appropriate dilution ratios), then explore the categories on the Health Issues page. Heritage is a small business owned and operated by a Christian family in Texas. Linda, homeschooling mother of 8, primarily runs the business, and you can read her personal testimony here. The Heritage website is my go-to online reference for safely using oils on and around my children.

Heritage Resources


Introduction to Essential Oils (FREE): Learn at your own pace and on your own timeline with this free class offered by Aromahead Institute: School of Essential Oil Studies. Features permanent unlimited access to all the course materials and any subsequent updates to the course content, even after you have completed the program. View each video as many times as you like.

Essential Oils & Natural Health ($95): a short modulated course (complete with quizzes) offered by Vintage Remedies. Upon registration, you have 90 days to complete the course. I just started the course for free as a perk for purchasing the 2015 Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle during a sale last October (I paid $129 for the bundle–you can get notified for future bundle sales). Vintage Remedies also offers a FREE Herbalism 101 Mini-Course that I plan to take. Will post reviews upon completion. So far enjoying the EO class!


Buy from a direct-selling friend. Chances are high (like 99%), that at least ONE of your social media friends either sells oils or knows someone who does. Compare prices and what comes with the different starter kits from the two major MLM EO companies (Young Living and doTERRA) and go with your gut on what kit to get. Kits typically contain 10-12 high quality oils and a nice diffuser. It’s the diffuser on top of the high quality oils that makes these kits a good deal.

Other perks for buying from a distributor:

  • She might be a good source for fun oil classes/education* and “make and take” events for DIY projects like lip balms, bath salts, etc.
  • Your order will help your actively selling friend earn rewards–I’m all about supporting mommy direct-sellers
  • You are in no way obligated to sell oils
  • You might get some good deals on bulk-ordering of oil accessories. My distributor got a ton of people to commit to ordering the small 5ml glass applicators that came with metal roller-ball fitments and caps, and we ended up paying $.25 per applicator which is a steal!


Not all of us have an extra $200 lying around to buy a fancy starter kit. So here are some other options if you want to try oils! I’m only mentioning brands I have used…there is much more out there. 🙂

  • Plant Therapy’s 14 Oil Set (7 blends, 7 singles) – $60
    I bought this kit early in my oiling journey. You really can’t beat the price, and all PT products ship FREE. These are fun to diffuse on a daily basis without killing my wallet. I generally don’t use these oils for acute health needs, and would NEVER take them internally.
  • Heritage Essential Oils Travel Kit (16 sampler bottles-2mls each-in a convenient case) – $76.50
    Heritage oils are anywhere from 1/3-1/2 the cost of Young Living and doTERRA oils and I am exceptionally pleased with the quality. I’ve tried most of the oils/blends in this kit for various health and injury needs with great success and have loved them all.


*Beware of anyone who claims that oils can or will prevent, treat, or cure any disease, as these claims and statements are not FDA approved and are out of compliance with the statements of these oil companies. Also don’t take any one person’s word as gospel when it comes to properly using oils, especially around infants, children, and pregnant women. Conduct your own research, and don’t stop or wean off any medications without the approval and guidance of your doctor or health care provider.





Essential Oil Brands


Yes, it’s a thing (and you thought vaccines were controversial).

There’s no point in rehashing what’s already been written so simply and with such grace…so, if you want to know my exact feelings on the oil wars, read Erin’s powerful piece, A Grace-Filled Answer to the Essential Oil Wars, at her blog The Humbled Homemaker. A few statements she makes I’d like to highlight:

  • I don’t place my loyalty in brands. I place it in people.
  • When I do purchase from one of the major brands, I have certain representatives whom I will give my patronage.
  • Tummies must be filled first.
  • And as far as natural healing goes? There are many, many natural remedies. Oils are just one. And ultimately? God is the Great Healer–with oils or without. (AMEN!)

So far I have tried oils from 3 different companies: Young Living, Plant Therapy, and Heritage Essential Oils. The first person to talk to me about oils used Young Living, so that’s how I started (it has nothing to do with picking a side in the Oil Wars). After reading Adrienne’s extensive research and her final post Announcing the Best Essential Oils Company (part 7 of her year-long research & journey) over at Whole New Mom, I’m excited to try a few oils from Native American Nutritionals as well (once I run out of current supply).

So, which brand is the best? My oiling creed when it comes to brands…I’d rather someone buy the cheaper oils that still work (though they may need to use more of it or use it longer to see results…and no internal use without very specific research accomplished and guidance from a professional) than be intimidated by the prices of the higher end oils and buy none at all. I will post about specific oils and blends (from different companies) that have grown on me and worked for the intended use, but that does not mean I think if a fellow oily mom comes to a different conclusion that she’s wrong.

Before anybody rails on me about oil quality, I get that. Quality does matter, and affects how I use my oils from different brands (I’ll bring out those points later). But like I said before, I’d rather someone buy cheaper oils than none at all!

Can’t afford an all fresh, organic, whole-food diet? Me neither, much of the time, and my health doesn’t depend on it (yet), though I know people whose health DOES depend on it. But buying conventional whole foods is still way better than buying highly processed, soy and corn-syrup filled foods as my main diet. That’s how I view oils.

Bottom line, I don’t care what brand you buy. If you love Young Living, doTERRA, or some other high-end oils and can afford them all the time, go for it! If you can only afford $50 in oils at first to try one of Plant Therapy’s sets, that’s fine! Regardless of brand, education on safety, proper uses, and dilution ratios (especially for children), is the key to successful oiling. When it comes to EOs, knowledge is power. Do not start your oiling journey without it. DO NOT pass GO, DO NOT collect $200.

My next post will be filled with educational resources that helped me, and I hope will be a blessing and help to you!